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    Tampa Museum Of Art Highlights African American Artists In Exhibition: Living Color

    Tampa Museum Of Art Highlights African American Artists In Exhibition: Living Color

    The Tampa Museum of Art opens a new exhibition presenting works by artists known as the Highwaymen, who painted the rich colors of Florida’s natural scenes.

    The Tampa Museum of Art (TMA) continues to celebrate and honor the richness and complexity of Florida’s cultural tapestry with its newest exhibition, Living Color: The Art of the Highwaymen.

    Art by Harold Newton

    Opened on November 19 and on view through March 28, 2021, Living Color brings together 60 paintings from five outstanding private collections, featuring the works of the core group of Florida Highwaymen. These celebrated African American artists depicted the state’s natural environment and rich tones through their unique self-taught painting styles.

    The Highwaymen produced artwork from the 1950s to the 1980s. Artists including Al Black, Mary Ann Carroll, Willie Daniels, Johnny Daniels, James Gibson, Alfred Hair, Roy McLendon, Harold Newton, Sam Newton, Willie Reagan, and Livingston Roberts, painted as a means to making a living, and many were quite successful, especially Alfred Hair and Harold Newton. Facing limitations imposed by the racial prejudice of their time, Highwaymen artists had little or no formal training or access to conventional art markets. To overcome these obstacles, they produced large numbers of works that could be sold at affordable prices, often door-to-door and sometimes from their cars’ trunks along such thoroughfares as Route 1.

    “We’re pleased to be able to bring Living Color to Tampa because this exhibition speaks to the resourcefulness and resilience of this group of artists. The Highwaymen, based in and around Ft. Pierce, developed their own creative community during a time in Florida’s history that coincided with an economic boom in the state and African Americans fighting for equal rights,” said Joanna Robotham, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Tampa Museum of Art.

    Art by Willie Daniels

    Furthering the momentum of TMA’s centennial year, Tampa Bay residents can look forward to studio art classes and educational programs offering in-depth insights into the Highwaymen artwork. Groups of four or more can schedule a private virtual tour, and groups of 10 or more can schedule an in-person tour of Living Color and any exhibition at TMA by visiting

    The exhibition is organized by the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) and curated by Gary Monroe in collaboration with Hansen Mulford, Senior Curator at OMA. A fully illustrated catalog published by OMA in conjunction with Living Color is available at the TMA Museum Store. The Tampa Museum of Art presents this significant exhibition to the Tampa Bay area thanks to the sponsorship support by the Gobioff Foundation, the Sauders Foundation, Brown & Brown Insurance, and others.

    As the Tampa Museum of Art sets its sights on the future, continuing to partner with businesses and individuals will help the Museum grow a legacy of art and culture in Tampa that inspires and represents all community members.

    Founded in 1920, the Tampa Museum of Art inspires the residents of the Tampa Bay region and others around the world by providing engaging exhibitions and innovative educational programs that emphasize ancient, modern, and contemporary art. The Museum houses one of the largest Greek and Roman antiquities collections in the southeastern United States. As one of the region’s largest museums devoted to the art of our time, the Museum’s permanent collection also embraces sculpture, photography, painting, new media, and more.

    New online programs add to the year-round studio art classes, lectures, and tours that provide children, teens, and adults with opportunities to discover new perspectives and learn different art-making techniques. Likewise, through unique community partnerships, the Museum offers outreach programs that provide art therapy interventions and meaningful modes of self-expression to vulnerable segments of the population.

    Located in the heart of downtown Tampa, next to the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Tampa’s Riverwalk, the Tampa Museum of Art leads as both a cultural institution and a community museum dedicated to celebrating the diversity of its home city.

    The Tampa Museum of Art is open seven days a week, Monday – Sunday 10 am – 5 pm and Thursdays from 10 am – 8 pm. The Museum’s phone number is (813) 274-8130, and the website is The Museum’s address is 120 W. Gasparilla Plaza. Tampa, FL 33602.

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    by Drishti Joshi Time to read this article: 9 min